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How to bet on tennis

Publication date: 10/08/2022

Tennis is a very popular sport all over the world and so it is not surprising that it is also the sport of choice for many sports betting punters. Betting on tennis can provide a new and interesting challenge compared to team sports because there are only two (or four) players ever on the court at one time in a tennis match. There is a lot more to consider about a player's individual characteristics (and the likelihood of getting an injury) as opposed to the large teams of most other sports where it does not apply.

Although there are only two players to consider that doesn't make it any easier though. Predicting winners and losers of a match is a complex task with so many different variables at play.

You can bet on a major tennis tournament during virtually every Spring and Summer month and if you also include minor tournaments it is an 'all year round' sport to all intents. Each match will have a variety of different sports betting markets that can be wagered on and some people like to specialise in certain types of bets. With 'to win' markets, point betting, 11th,12th and 13th game markets as well as set score, set lead, tie breaks and so many more options to choose from there is a lot to choose from! There is no one "best way to bet on tennis" though, each individual will have a way which is best for themselves and this will differ from person to person.

Betting on tennis can be a truly diverse and interesting experience and we hope that this tennis betting guide provides you with some tips on how to do it.

Understanding Tennis betting, Most Common Types of Bets

If you don't have tennis betting experience it makes sense that you thoroughly know the rules of the game and all the different bet types. Understanding them all can sometimes be difficult, especially for a total beginner, so here we will break down some of the most popular and the most common tennis betting markets.


Moneyline is an Americanism and what it means is basically who will win. When you bet on tennis at a UK site it will probably be called the match winners market. This match betting market is probably the most popular when it comes to tennis betting (it usually is for most sports).

It is simplest to explain because you just want to predict which of the two (or four in doubles matches) players will win the match. This market is usually in early rounds quite uneven with one heavy favourite and the underdog player who could easily be 16/1 or higher and the favourite have the minimum odds of 1/100 on. This is because the bookmaker believes that there is very little chance that they will win against one of the higher ranked players. It is common for people to back the favourite seeing it as "Free money", but remember upsets do happen, as do injuries!

An example of how to bet on tennis match odds (moneyline)

An example of how to bet on tennis match odds (moneyline)


The game spread markets offer a way to level the playing field a bit and give one player a handicap. As tennis matches will often have a large skill gap between competitors this market gives one of the players effectively a head start to make it closer, and how much of a lead they get will vary from game to game. For example, if Djokovic is a 1/100 favourite over Denis Istomin in a 3-set match. The game spread will likely be around -4.5. This means that Djokovic would need to win five more games than Istomin in the match to cover the spread. If Djokovic wins (6-4, 6-4) he wins by a Net total of 4. So in this case a bet on +4.5 Istomin is a winner by 0.5.

The set spreads are very similar to the game spread however instead you are betting on sets rather than the total game. For example, if Casper Ruud is the favourite to win his match with Jaume Munar, he will also be available to win -1.5 in the Set Handicap. If Casper Ruud wins either in straight sets or 3-1 he wins by +3 sets or +2 sets, which is more than -1.5 so this bet wins. If Jaume Munar wins two sets then you'd lose.

A handicap bet can be on number of sets scored

A handicap bet can be on number of sets scored

Over / Under

Over / Under betting is predicting the total number of games that will be played in a match. If you believe a match will be close and have 21 rounds or more, you bet Over 21.5. If there are 21 or fewer you would lose, 22 or more and you win.

Over / Under betting odds

Over / Under betting odds

Exact Score bet

Exact score betting functions as the name suggests! You as the punter must predict the exact finishing score of the tennis match. So you are not betting on someone winning matches but instead on the total games won AND how many were won by each player.


Futures betting allows customers to wager on tournaments that have not started yet but as the name suggests will happen in the future. The most common market to bet on here is an outright winner bet.


A prop is any bet not tied to the final results of the match but some other variable within the match, but not connected to winning. For example the total number of foul balls! This is something that can still be predicted without being tied to the final result of the match making it a props bet. Although props bets are not exclusive to tennis due to the nature of the sport they come up quite often and are definitely worth delving into.

Live bets

In play betting is very common these days and features on most betting sites! In play betting allows customers to bet mid-match on a variety of different things from who will the next serve be an Ace, who will win this point, win this game, win this Set and also at any stage you can still bet on who will win the match. This means that if you are watching the game, perhaps with the bookmaker's live streaming, you can make a more informed decision on who to bet on by seeing how they are playing today rather than guessing pre match what their form will be like.

Tennis Betting Strategies and Tactics

There is a certain knack to tennis betting and it is not hard to find a tennis tipster online describing (and selling) a variety of advanced strategies available for you to employ. Placing bets on a player when the betting odds are high does mean that the odds are literally stacked against you. Thinking outside the box though and you can potentially spot the opportunity for some nice wins when there is a very heavy favourite and an underdog! The chances of getting injured midgame is the same regardless of how good you are. Should a player retire after a Set has been completed* then the other player wins. In tennis, an injury can be quite small but is still enough to force a retirement unlike Rugby where things are just run off! If you notice a player in a previous game appear to wince at the end of a sprint, or in the existing game not be moving around the court as well as previously, a forced injury can lead you to a win if you have bet correctly.

The betting odds represent which player is seen as more skilled or deemed likely to win but a sudden medical condition such as we described will change things dramatically.

Placing set spreads is another good strategy for tennis bettors. Due to the potential skill disparity between opponents, there is often limited bet variety. Tennis odds are often much higher for one side than the other and because of this, spread betting is a way to level the playing field and even the odds. This can prove to be lucrative if taken advantage of properly.

Learning your games and players is a hugely important part of placing as accurate a prediction as possible. Analysing players and learning how they respond under pressure could make all the difference when it comes to establishing a winning bet.

Should one player be known to struggle under pressure however thrive if they gain an early lead it is worth placing a bet on that player to win the first set or even to win the overall match hoping that they gain an early lead and hold it. Scrutinising players under different conditions and making their behaviour easily predictable for you is key to placing successful bets. Sometimes having a tennis betting spreadsheet where you can note down info on specific players and their playing styles can be massively helpful rather than trying to store all that information in your head.

Under / Over bets are another potentially lucrative method of tennis betting. With a 50/50 choice available it is possible to flip a coin but there is no skill in that and you won't make a long-run profit. Alternatively learning which player is likely to be dominant or whether it will be even can allow you to learn what to bet for. If a player is particularly strong it's easy to see that the game will not last long and betting under likely to be the choice. If the players are almost perfectly matched it's clear to see that the match may take much longer and therefore betting over is possibly the best choice.

Tennis betting tricks for Beginners

Tennis betting is a complicated and difficult thing to master so we decided for the benefit of new sports bettors to list a great range of tennis betting tips for you to improve your sports betting and tennis bets or it could even provide experienced sports bettors with some great advice:

  • One of the best tennis betting tips in our opinion is to go against the crowd.
  • Remember that momentum is one of the biggest factors when it comes to the odds of a selection being driven up or down.
  • Capitalising on the moments where odds may be particularly high could be pivotal to your winnings. Live streaming the game when you are live betting is advisable to keep you up to speed with what is going on and to assess a player's performance. Having said that beware of people betting on the same match as you who are actually at the courtside, your pictures will be delayed but theirs are not.
  • Having a stable and solid live feed is another important thing that should not be overlooked.
  • Keep your account funded. Odds and match conditions could change any second so make sure you're able to capitalise immediately (without having to redeposit) can really be vital to a successful betting strategy.

Finally, remember that with everything you get out what you put in and this includes your tennis betting strategy. With all sports betting learning the game inside and out is a hugely important aspect. It could be one of the biggest things when it comes to successfully betting on tennis, learning how different surfaces affect play, knowing the rules to their full extent, and trying your damnedest to understand every market available is a huge piece of the puzzle for accurately predicting the game.

Taking the time to learn as much as you can about the upcoming matches means you can quickly and easily make predictions others may miss, allowing you to net yourself a great potential profit and allows you to take some of the guesswork out in exchange for the informed predictions you can make.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does +2.5 mean in tennis?

+2.5 refers to handicap betting, and it can mean either how many more games than the games scored will a player need to win the match, OR it can also mean how many Sets will be played in a match if it is a Women's game. It is most likely to refer to how many games a player will need to win by though. Because there is a high likelihood of one player being much better than the other and the high odds involved bookmakers allow you to place handicap bets at odds closer to evens. For example, if one player is a clear favourite to win you can place a +2.5 bet. This number is added to the opposing players' score at the end of the match and it works to level the betting playing field making both players viable bets.

Handicap betting can be done pre match and also when live betting

Handicap betting can be done pre match and also when live betting

What is the best bet in tennis?

The best market to bet on tennis is a very subjective question as many factors come into making something the “best”. The most commonly bet upon and most commonly referred to bet is the Moneyline bet. This bet allows customers to bet on who they think will win! This is also sometimes called "match odds" and it is going to give you the most entertaining since the bet lasts the full length of the game, so it is a contender to be called the best.

Remember though if you are betting for fun the best bet is one that you can afford and is given you the most fun regardless of the tennis odds. If you are betting to make money then the best bet is also one you can afford and is placed on wherever betting odds represent value.

Popular tennis bets and tennis bet types

Popular tennis bets and tennis bet types

How is over and under calculated in tennis?

During any tennis match, an over or under value will be set. You can then bet whether you believe there will be more or less (Over or Under) that amount of games. This is calculated by each bookmaker using a variety of complex algorithms and data from previous matches for each player as well as other variables around the playing surface and even the weather. The computer will then provide a number that is in all probability automatically entered and updated onto the site.

Over / Under betting on the total number of games in a match

Over / Under betting on the total number of games in a match